Agasthiyar was a Vedic sage or rishi. Agastya
and his clan are also credited to have "authored" many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture,
in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman. Agastya is also the author of Agastya
Samhita Agastya the Rishi, was born of both Gods, Mitra and Varuna, from Urvashi. Agastya is also the Indian astronomical
name of the star of Canopus,
is said to be the 'cleanser of waters', since its rising coincides with the calming of the waters of the Indian
Ocean. Another reference is in the Mahabharata in Sauptikaparva as the teacher of Guru Drona, who gave Drona,
the greatest of weapons, Brahmastra (used by both Arjuna and Ashwatthama at the end of the war).
Agastya and Lopāmudrā
As with all other Hindus, it was necessary
for Agastya to marry and sire a son, in order to fulfill his duties to the Manus. Once he resolved upon doing this, Agastya
pursued an unusual course of action: by his yogic powers, he created a female infant who possessed all the special qualities
of character and personality that would be appropriate in the wife of a renunciate. At this time, the noble and virtuous king
of Vidarbha (an area in south-central India, just south of
the Vindhya mountains), was childless and was undergoing penances and prayers for the gift of a child. Agastya arranged for
the child he had created to be born the daughter of that noble king of Vidarbha. The child was named "Lopamudra" by her parents.
Upon her coming of age, Agastya approached the king and sought the hand of his daughter. The king was initially chagrined
to hear such a suggestion from a renunciate, but found that his daughter, who had early exhibited extraordinary standards
of mind and character, was insistent that he should accept the proposal. She was utterly intent upon exchanging the palace
of her father the king for the forest-hermitage of Agastya. Lopamudra and Agastya were duly married and lived a life of extraordinary
felicity. It is believed that they had two sons - Bringi & Achuthan. In Mahabharata (Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva),
there is mention of his penance at Gangadwara (Haridwar), with the help of his wife, Lopamudra (the princess of Vidharba)
Legends about Agastya
One story about Agastya goes that once
the demons had taken refuge in the ocean and it was difficult for the gods to vanquish them, so they went to Sage Agastya
for help. Then, after hearing the gods, the sage drank the entire ocean water and held it within him until the demons were
destroyed. After the demons were destroyed, Devtas requested him to save the sea animals who were dying because of lack of
water. At Devtas request Agastya Rishi released all the water as urine and that is why the sea water became salty.[citation
Agastya is said to have "dedicated" all
the forest animals to the deity Rudra hence making them fit for eating if killed while hunting. Agastya is famous for being
the first siddhar in the siddhars tradition. He created many medicines, and jadhakam, mandhrikam and he said all of them.
In his book, he gives description of, and
instructions for the creation of medicines for fever, cancer, treatments for impotence, abdominal problems, brain and eye
problems, bone problems, etc. Reputedly, his medicines give quick results without any side effects.
Another legend is about how Sage Agastya
saved the earth from imbalance. Mount Meru,
a mountain in the Vindhya Range, felt that the Sun should not go from East to West without its permission,
so it grew and grew and grew, till the sun could not pass. The devas were worried and approached Sage Agastya to help them.
Sage Agastya, and his family traveled to South India, via mount
Meru. On their way, Sage Agastya requested the mountain not to grow any further,
until his return. Mount Meru humbly agreed.
After passing through the mountain, sage Agastya told his wife that they will never go back north of mount
And it is believed that till date Sage
Agastya has never left South India. It is believed that he was the only sage excused from attending
the wedding of Lord Shiva, and other events that consisted of the Sapta Rishis (Seven Sages), so that the earth would not
Before Sage Agastya left for South
India, it is believed that Lord Shiva requested him to create a new language for the people of South
India, Tamizh (Tamil as it is pronounced). Hence Sage Agastya is considered the father of Tamizh Mozhi (Tamil
Another story has it that two demon brothers,
Ilvala and Vathapi, used to kill people who were passing by the forest in a special manner. Vathapi was good at changing to
other life forms and the other, Ilvala knew the supernatural slogan Sanjivani mantra which, when invoked can bring back a
dead person to life. They hatched a plan against Agastya that Vathapi would turn into a goat and be killed and fed to Agastya.
After Agastya had eaten the meat, Ilvala would invoke the Sanjivani mantra to bring back his brother Vathapi to life, who
in turn would rend Agastya's stomach and come out thereby killing him. By the plan, one changed into a goat and the other
disguised himself as a Brahmachari who invited Agastya to a meal. Agastya knew beforehand about the plan due to his immense
Vedic powers, but he resolved to teach both a lesson. After the meal, Agastya simply rubbed his stomach saying Vathapi JeerNo
bhava; literally may Vathapi be digested, while the other demon tried to bring his brother to life in vain. Agastya plainly
informed the demon that his brother has been digested and could no longer be brought back to life.
Other facets of Agastya
He is considered as the first and foremost
Siddha. He is considered the guru of many other Siddhas. He is also called Kurumuni, meaning short (kuru) saint (muni). He
made contributions to the field of Medicine and Astrology - especially Nadi astrology. He is said[Tamil sidhhars] to have
lived for over 5000 years, and that one of his medicinal preparations, Boopathi Kuligai, is so powerful that it can even bring
the dead back to life. Two of his students and disciples were Therayar and Tholkappiar. Another story about him is that once
when the great sage accompanied by his beloved royal wife were wandering through forests, she fainted due to the humidity
and hot conditions prevailing in the south. She was royal, hence not exposed to hard conditions. By seeing this the great
sage became angry and prepared to punish the Sun God with his bow and arrows. Upon seeing this the sun god feared and appeared
before Agastya and presented him with umbrella and chappals (foot wear).
Unity of Vishnu and Shiva
At a Saivite temple named Kutralam, formerly
a Vishnu temple, in Tamil Nadu, Agastya, in one legend, was refused entry. He then appeared as a Vaishnavite devotee and is
said to have miraculously converted the image to a Shiva linga. A symbolic meaning of this conversion is to show that Vishnu
and Shiva are different aspects of the one and same God.
Agastya In Akilam
According to Akilattirattu Ammanai, the
religious book of Ayyavazhi, Agastya was created from the mind of lord Siva inorder to offer boons to Kaliyan (See:Boons offered
to Kaliyan). As per the order of Siva, Agastya offered many boons including all worldly knowledge to him.
So as per Ayyavazhi, in Kali Yukam all
the knowledge, including the basic formulae and forms of modern scientific technologies came from Agastya.